chapter  13
Black Studies in Prime Time: Racial Expertise and the Framing of Cultural Authority
Pages 16

In 1903, writing nearly 50 years before the advent of television, W. E. B. Du Bois wrote in his widely read Souls of Black Folk of Blacks “born with a veil, and gifted with second-sight in this American world,—a world which yields him no true self-consciousness, but only lets him see himself through the revelation of the other world” (Du Bois, 1999, pp. 10-11). Du Bois’s metaphor foreshadows the ongoing predicament of the ability and authority of Blacks to engage in systematic critiques of their own social dilemmas. The veil became a metaphor not only for how Blacks came to see themselves, but for the inability of a broader American society to truly see African Americans as they really were.